Written by the Women’s College Hospital Pharmacy Team
March is Pharmacy Appreciation Month, a time to reflect and celebrate the valuable role pharmacy plays within the health care system and at Women’s College Hospital (WCH).
Who are we and what do we do?
Pharmacists and pharmacy technicians are an integral part of WCH’s interdisciplinary healthcare team. They work collaboratively in multiple clinical areas to improve the health outcomes of patients through safe and effective medication use.
Pharmacists are medication experts who optimize medication use, prevent adverse drug events, simplify complicated medication regimens and facilitate medication tapers, such as for benzodiazepines and opioids. They provide education to patients and their families to help them better understand and manage their medications to make informed treatment decisions.
Pharmacy Technicians are responsible for drug distribution. They check medications for accuracy prior to dispensing, monitor drug supply from manufacturers and manage recalls or shortages to prevent disruptions in medication therapy. They also play a vital role in the Preadmission Clinic by obtaining a Best Possible Medication History, which is an accurate, complete, and up-to-date medication record for patients.
Pharmacy Residents are pharmacists who choose to pursue additional advanced clinical training and are an important member of the healthcare team. WCH developed one of Canada’s first accredited Ambulatory Pharmacy Residency programs and accepts one resident a year.
Where do we work?
The pharmacy team has many essential and innovative roles within WCH. As we continue to move forward in our new normal, the team continues to provide virtual patient visits, liaise with interprofessional team members and collaborate with community healthcare providers to ensure continuity of care.
Members of the pharmacy team play an integral role in the following care programs:
- Acute Ambulatory Care Unit
- General Internal Medicine Clinic
- Atrial Fibrillation Clinic
- Cardiology Clinic
- Heart Function Clinic
- Surgical Services
- Centre for Osteoporosis and Bone Health
- Family Practice Health Centre
- Toronto Academic Pain Medicine Institute
- Seamless Care Optimizing the Patient Experience (SCOPE)
- Mental Health Program
- COVID-19 Clinical Assessment Centre
A major focus for the pharmacy team in 2022 was supporting hospital Accreditation with preparation and supporting several major initiatives like Medication Reconciliation. Under the leadership of the pharmacy team, WCH met all 180 Medication Management standards! In addition, the pharmacy team was responsible for eight Required Organizational Practices (ROPs) and standards were met for all eight ROPs. We are proud of our achievements and contributions to the hospital’s Exemplary Standing.
All WCH pharmacists take active roles in teaching and mentoring pharmacy residents and fourth year students from the Leslie Dan Faculty of Pharmacy at the University of Toronto. The pharmacy department also offers an accredited one-year Ambulatory Pharmacy Residency program, which successfully underwent accreditation by the Canadian Pharmacy Residency Board this past year. Pharmacists are also involved in the teaching and training of medical clerks and residents at the hospital.
Pharmacists strive to improve the care they deliver by applying principles of quality improvement and program evaluation in their clinical programs. Pharmacists across all programs at WCH are involved in practice research and academic publications to inform patient care. Currently several pharmacists are collaborating on Best Practice Guideline Program projects at WCH. The pharmacy team also supports clinical research by managing medications for clinical trials conducted through Women’s College Research Institute.
For more information about pharmacy at WCH, contact Natalie Benninger, Manager of Pharmacy Services at email@example.com.